Oliver Stone’s Savages presents two visions of the drug business.  One of these, ruthlessly violent and treacherous, is dictated by current prohibition policy.  The second vision, embodied in laid-back, idealistic botanist and philanthropic entrepreneur Ben, who, along with his enforcer, “Iraq psycho” Chon, runs California’s gourmet pot, is clearly what Oliver Stone prefers.  Savages posits that it’s only a matter of time before drugs are legalized in the U.S., which means that every cartel and worthless DEA leech are looking to grab everything they can as quickly and viciously as possible.  Trouble begins for Ben and Chon when Salma Hayek’s cartel tries to buy them out, and meeting resistance, kidnaps their mutual lover, O.

This being an Oliver Stone joint, paranoia is of course always present, but acid trip visuals are kept to a minimum, and the story – more of a multiple character study than an action flick – never slows down long enough to fail to be interesting.  The lead actors are acceptable, but the supporting cast especially shines.  Benicio Del Toro is fun as a seedy and barely human Mexican enforcer, while Hayek is commended for accepting and bringing to life a decidedly unglamorous and surprisingly vulnerable role.  Last but not least, massage parlor maniac John Travolta sleazes it up as a weaselly DEA tax-waster.  A superfluous double ending gimmick doesn’t quite work for me, but Savages is, overall, not at all a bad way to spend two hours.  4 strung-out stars on the 5-scale.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Savages is:

7. Pro-miscegenation (white guy, Mexican girl)

6. Green

5. Antiwar

4. Pro-philanthropy (i.e., voluntary redistribution)

3. Pro-slut.  Two guys for every girl – only in California!

2. Anti-state, with prohibition and DEA duplicity ultimately responsible for the violence of the drug business.

1. Pro-drug/pro-legalization